The National Hockey League has decided to start its Christmas break earlier than scheduled, the latest NHL COVID pause to hit hockey during the pandemic.
The league announced Monday evening this NHL COVID pause will begin after the final three games on the schedule Tuesday.
Team facilities will be closed from Dec. 22 through Dec. 25 as the league tries to weather several COVID-19 outbreaks. Players are scheduled to report back to team facilities on Dec. 26 and resume daily testing.
The NHL schedule is supposed to resume on Dec. 27.
Among NHL odds, these are the remaining three games left on the schedule, for what hockey fans hope is just a five day stoppage in the middle of the 2021-22 season.
- 2021-22 Stanley Cup Futures
Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers
Tampa Bay Lightning at Las Vegas Golden Knights
Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild
Outbreak Details That Led To NHL COVID pause
11 teams suspended operations this week, and the NHL postponed all games through Christmas that involved crossing the U.S. – Canada border. More than 15% of the league’s players were in virus protocols as of Monday night, in a league where only one player is not vaccinated.
For perspective, the NFL still had less than 10% of players on its COVID lists in its worst week of positive tests on record.
The NHL has brought back daily testing, social distancing measures and restrictions on where players can go when they are not at home, hotels or team facilities. Booster shots have not been mandated by the NHL and players’ union.
What about the Winter Olympics?
A total of 49 games have been postponed this season. According to ESPN, the NHL views that as “material damage to the schedule”, which allows the league to exercise its opt-out clause for player participation in the Beijing winter Olympics.